Finding new opportunity at the heart of VMS growth

Written by: Matt Taylor , Director of Insights 

Start with Who

Finding new opportunity at the heart of VMS growth 

Looking ahead to a brand-new year feels different this time. What’s typically full of hopeful expectation is overshadowed by the uncertainty of a global pandemic that changed everything. But as we do make our plans, what new opportunities can we find for growth? 

We know that immunity-based vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) have been in hot demand, along with overall wellness products like multivitamins, mushrooms and sleep aids. But beyond the short-term ‘What’ of COVID-19’s effects, the long-term opportunity lives in the ‘Who. If you can identify the right consumers—those who are increasing their VMS usage most—you can work to attract them to your store and win profitable new customers for life.  

In the search for opportunity, we went to the source and spoke with consumers1. We learned things like: 

  • 56% of Canadians are taking their health more seriously than before COVID-19 
  • 51% are interested in learning more about immune-supporting VMS 
  • 20% are taking more VMS than before COVID-19  

This is big! Not only are consumers prioritizing their health more than ever, but they’re learning about—and using—VMS to stay well. And it’s not just a small group of people; it’s 20% of VMS users! 

Now that we’ve identified some general attitude and behaviour changes, we can dig deeper to find who is behind them. This is where it gets good. 

Done as a result of COVID-19  18-34  35-54  55+ 
Increased VMS consumption  27%  23%  13% 
Restarted buying  18%  20%  9% 
Researched which VMS to take  30%  27%  15% 
Bought new categories  25%  23%  12% 
Bought extra for family/friends  19%  19%  8% 
None of the above  33%  36%  51% 

As you can see, it’s younger consumers driving growth in VMS. Yes, some simply returned to old habits (“restarted buying”) due of COVID-19, but it’s much more than that. Many others have become more engaged in the category: actively looking for health guidance and solutions, trying new products and buying extra for family and friends.  

Ok, great—but now the question is: how can you attract these new, younger shoppers? Here are 5 ideas to get you started. 

  1. Create high quality immunity and wellness-based content. We know these younger consumers are actively researching what VMS to take, and they’re open to trying new and different products. As a local health expert, who can do it better?! 

  1. Advertise online. Consumers are searching with intent to buy. It’s the perfect time and place to introduce yourself—before their next shopping trip. 

  1. Offer delivery or click and collect. Consumers have reduced their shopping trips to fewer times and locations, so you need to make it simple and fast.  

  1. Promote your health & safety measures. According to our research1, younger consumers are significantly more likely to feel extremely or very stressed by COVID-19. Make sure they know what you’re doing to keep them safe. 

  1. Appeal to their other health goals. Immune health is at the top for everyone, but what goals are uniquely high for the younger crowd? Energy and sleep1. Advertise, merchandise or create content to help them solve these problems. 

Attracting new customers is critical for any business, but especially during a worldwide pandemic. When it comes to VMS, we’ve seen growth—in large part due to younger consumers researching, buying, using and sharing more than ever. As a Natural Health Store, this new wave creates opportunity to win new shoppers for life! How will you attract these younger consumers this year? 

Matt Taylor is the Director of Insights for Jamieson Wellness and has been in the natural products industry since 2005. You can reach Matt at 


1 Survey conducted by Jamieson Wellness, October 9-18, 2020 with a representative sample of 1,249 online English Canadians who purchased VMS in the past 6 months and are members of the Angus Reid Forum. Results are generalizations of all Canadian VMS users and not specific to any one company or brand. 

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